Villanova Falls Short Near the End in Loss to UConn

The Wildcats Got to Within Two Late, But the UConn Huskies Prevail 60 – 51

VILLANOVA, PA. 2/18/2023 –

A highly anticipated game where the top two teams in the Big East would clash.. A sellout at the Finneran Pavilion. The game was on national television. The ingredients were there for #14 Villanova. But the result went in favor of sixth-ranked UConn 60 – 51 in a very tough game.

“I didn’t feel like we capitalized on opportunities that we had, credit to UConn and their defense,” said Villanova Coach Denise Dillon. “A tough one and anxious to see how our team bounces back.”

But this is something to remember and build on for the Wildcats.

“It’s so exciting to see how much the crowd has grown, especially in my time at Villanova,” Maddy Siegrist said. “You look at the crowd and the first few minutes are like wow, this is awesome.”

The result was not what they wanted.

The Late Villanova Charge

Connecticut held the lead for a majority of the game. The Huskies appeared to take control over the first five minutes of the fourth quarter behind an 8 – 1 run to take a double-digit lead. Villanova began their comeback scoring the next 10 points. Maddy Siegrist and Lucy Olsen led the charge hitting back-to-back three’s. An Olsen jumper off a turnover cut the deficit to 52 – 50 with 3:56 on the clock. And the house was rockin’.

Unfortunately that would be the last basket for the Wildcats. Aaliyah Edwards responded for the Huskies with a layup nearly a minute later. Lou Lopes Senechal got a bucket, two of her game-high 22 points, then sealed it with 2 free throws at the 46.4 second mark.

“It was a little bit of that pressure, just trying to get looks even out of timeouts, and just didn’t make them,” Dillon said about the last minutes of the game. “I think the wheels were just turning at that point, not realizing there is still a lot of time in the game and possession. That happens in such a crucial part of the game.”

Villanova could not capitalize. In the last four minutes Connecticut turned the ball over 4 times. But Nova missed six shots and and three of four from the line.

Siegrist Tough Shooting Day

The senior forward would up with 21 points, a team-high. But she was 8 of 22 from the field, 1 of 5 from distance, and 4 of 6 from the foul line.

“Sometimes the shots go in and sometimes they don’t,” Siegrist simply said.

“She (Siegrist) is a great player and is going to get as many shots as possible,” said Lopez Senechal. “We tried to cover as much as possible.”

“Whatever she gets, she gets, but it can’t be easy,” said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. “I was really proud of the defensive effort.”

What the Numbers Say

A lot.

The Wildcats made 20 of 60 (33.3%) from the floor and 5 of 25 three-pointers. The Huskies went 20 of 47 (42.6%) and only 3 of 10 from distance. Nova had 13 more shots by virtue of causing 22 UConn turnovers. But did not take advantage of that.

Foul shooting woes hurt Villanova as they made 6 of 12 attempts. Connecticut converted 17 of 26 from the line led by Lopez Senechal who drained 7 of 8.

UConn had two other players score in double-figures as Edwards posted 13 and pulled down 14 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season. Dorka Juhasz put in 14 points.

Olsen was the only other Wildcat in double-figures getting 13 points.

The Huskies won the rebounding battle 47 – 25.

A Unique Rivalry

The teams tend to use each other as a measuring stick of where they stand. Villanova believes they can play in these types of games, and have a win and two tough efforts over their rival.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma looks back on the clashes as a reference point about his program. A highly successful run that started with wins over Villanova.

Will they meet again this season? Time will tell.

“The expectation has to be there that you are capable of winning such games,” Dillon said.

Up Next

A short turnaround for the 23 – 5, 14 – 3 Wildcats who hosts DePaul on Tuesday.

Connecticut (24 – 4, 16 – 1) will host St. John’s the same night.


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Maddy Siegrist With a Jump Shot at the Sold Out Venue

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